WBC lightweight champion Devin ‘The Dream’ Haney 24-0 (15) had a tougher than expected inaugural title defence against Alfredo Santiago 12-1 (14) but still pitched a shutout at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on Saturday night.
The 20-year-old Haney, who won the interim championship against Zaur Abdullaev in September, was elevated to full champion by the Mexican sanctioning body shortly before the bout.
Haney was originally slated to face Petr Petrov but the WBC wouldn’t accept the Russian veteran as an opponent. Santiago was only cleared as a challenger last week.
The fight had its fair share of rough stuff and when Haney dropped Santiago in the fifth, it looked like the fight might be over. But the 25-year-old from the Dominican Republic, now based out of Puerto Rico, rebounded in the sixth and did enough to stay on his feet until the final bell.
Judges Karen Holderfield, Alejandro Rochin and Zachary Young all scored the fight 120-107 for the champion.
“I feel like I could have done better, but I fought with a bad right arm, my shoulder feels like it was dislocated during the fight, but I showed that I’m a true champion and that I can adjust against a fighter that I took on short notice,” said Haney.
“He was very crafty.”
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